Food & Drink: The Art of Tudor Feasting; despite What We May Think, Dining in Tudor Times Was Far from a Coarse Affair. in Fact, There Were Definite Rules Which Ensured That Eating Was Done Correctly, Says Cate Wilson

By Wilson, Cate | The Birmingham Post (England), February 5, 2000 | Go to article overview

Food & Drink: The Art of Tudor Feasting; despite What We May Think, Dining in Tudor Times Was Far from a Coarse Affair. in Fact, There Were Definite Rules Which Ensured That Eating Was Done Correctly, Says Cate Wilson


Wilson, Cate, The Birmingham Post (England)


Preparing a large dinner party can certainly be a headache. Sorting out a menu, going shopping, followed by endless chopping and simmering can prove stressful for even the most organised host.

But spare a thought for chefs in Tudor times, when a feast could take the whole day to prepare and would typically include six courses.

The sit-down meal for up to 300 guests would include fresh soup, three or four roasts, a game course, jellies, fruit and cheese.

The common view of Tudor England is that dining was a coarse affair involving ripping legs off fowl, wolfing down mouthfuls of meat and tossing the bones over your well-padded shoulders.

But according to food historian Peter Brears, who has written a book on Tudor dining, that image is far from accurate.

He says: "For the Tudor upper classes, dining was a sophisticated pastime involving elaborate food displays, high quality produce and elegant table manners.

"The view we have has been learned from inaccurate film portrayals of Henry VIII and his raucous banquets, but it is a false one. Many of the traditions we enjoy at dinner parties today began in Tudor times."

Although the Tudors ruled Britain between 1457 and 1603, the period is defined by the reign of Henry VIII (1491-1547). It was he who built Hampton Court Palace on the outskirts of London and who introduced the practice of fine dining to England with his 500-strong feasts.

Food was highly regionalised, with people in the north mainly eating beef, mutton, porridge and oatcakes. In the south, foods such as rye bread and salt cake would be popular, while coastal dwellers would substitute fish for meat.

In all households, meals were taken twice a day but at different times depending on the season.

In large homes, it was the last meal of the day which was the main event, particularly if company was expected. Work in the kitchens at Hampton Court would begin at about 5am, when animals needed for the afternoon meal would be slaughtered and then immersed in boiling water to kill any bacteria.

Main course roasts would be cooked on a large skewer over a spit while game birds would be trussed to a spit, so that the cooking process would not ruin the appearance of the bird. This is because game was served dressed, where the bird was skinned before cooking and then the plumage re-applied before serving.

A large house such as Hampton Court would also have had out-kitchens, such as bakehouses, brewing cellars and a buttery, where food would be made away from the hot preparation areas of the main kitchens.

Peter Brears says: "The Tudors were fanatical about food hygiene and kept all food separate during cooking and storage.

"They were also very regimented in how they ate, down to where people sat, what utensils they used and the order and content of the courses. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Food & Drink: The Art of Tudor Feasting; despite What We May Think, Dining in Tudor Times Was Far from a Coarse Affair. in Fact, There Were Definite Rules Which Ensured That Eating Was Done Correctly, Says Cate Wilson
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.